Twenty Years of Territorial Cooperation in Inner Scandinavia

  • Erik Hagen
  • Bjørn Terje Andersen
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


In Inner Scandinavia , a vast urban–rural territory in the southern heartlands of the Scandinavian Peninsula, a number of local border committees were set up with the assistance of the Nordic Council of Ministers in the late 1960s, later supported by bilateral regional cooperation agreements. These provided a fertile seedbed for the first INTERREG A programme in these borderlands, established in 1996 following Sweden’s accession to the European Union (EU). With a substantial increase in funds made available for cross-border activities, and a structural framework introduced by EU regulations, the INTERREG Sweden–Norway programme instantly became an arena attracting talent and creativity from both sides of the border. The organising principles of partnership, multilevel governance, additionality and transparency cemented INTERREG as a small yet green branch among the mix of regional development tools within the EU/EEA (European Economic Area). In assessing the impacts of cross-border cooperation (CBC), attention should be paid to the extent to which the governance structures and the adherent investments of added-up funds contribute to the EU objective of territorial cohesion. Furthermore, it should be acknowledged that INTERREG A programmes alone cannot be expected to counteract larger trends of ongoing centralisation due to their limited economic leverage. However, CBC, as shown by the case of Inner Scandinavia, can perform well in its more targeted mission of reducing border barriers and in promoting long-term development via the effective utilisation of the border regions’ joint resources and capital. As regional and EU political and financial support for CBC have grown over time, the Norwegian Government funds have shown a declining trend since the very start of INTERREG in Scandinavia. In drafting future INTERREG programmes, close attention should be paid to basic partnership governance principles, pointing out exactly where and why CBC becomes part of the European idea, introducing cross-border planning and increasing the levels of transparency and accountability.


Cross-Border cooperation Multilevel governance Partnership Accountability Scandinavia 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hedmark County CouncilHamarNorway

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